Is bicycling the weight loss secret you’ve been looking for? I lost 40 pounds in 12 weeks and it wasn’t difficult. In fact, I had a lot of fun doing it. No, I haven’t lost my mind. I’ve struggled with my weight since college so I know how tough it can be to drop those extra pounds and as many people like to tell me, it’s harder to lose weight at your age. Come on, I’m only 49 and I just lost 4 pounds per week for the first 8 weeks and I’m still going down. Others told me that I couldn’t sustain losing 4 pounds every week, that I was dropping too fast and that I was at risk of putting it back on. We’ll that didn’t happen. I know what you’re thinking, you must have starved yourself to lose that much weight? I didn’t. I had times when I might feel hungry but compared to past weight loss attempts hunger pains were almost non-existent. So what’s the secret?
This is the before and after photo. My total weight loss was 40 pounds over 12 weeks.
Notice the side benefit, I got a nice tan being out in the sun riding. By the way, I’m golfing in Seattle in the second photo and hence the jacket. Growing facial hair isn’t required but what the heck, if you’re going to change your look why not?
The following is the plan I followed:
- Bicycle for 1 hour, 4 days per week.: There is a child like joy involved in riding a bicycle and time flies when you’re having fun. Don’t worry about how far or how fast you’re riding. Just ride for one hour and each new ride, try to ride a little faster and farther than the previous one. In other words, compete against yourself and on every ride go further and faster. Eventually I extended my rides to 1.5 hours. If you don’t have a bike computer on your bike, get one. They’re inexpensive and easy to install. You can always use your smart phone and an app like MapMyRide. The only down side is that the GPS on my iPhone wipes out my battery pretty quickly.
- Less white colored foods: To lose weight you need to burn fat and your body doesn’t get around to burning fat until it’s used up its stored energy from the sugars and other carbohydrates (carbs) you’ve consumed. When you don’t burn enough calories to use up the sugars (glucose) your body converts them to fat to be used later. I minimized the amount of white colored foods I ate so minimal pasta, rice, bread and potatoes. Lean meat like chicken and turkey along with plenty of vegetables made up my meals. I did not count calories but did try to keep my portions reasonable and tried to avoid hidden carbs and calories from condiments like salad dressing opting for vinegar and oil type dressings as opposed to Ranch or Blue Cheese.
- Don’t eat after 8PM: Eating late allows your body to work on converting food to fat while you sleep.
- Eat breakfast everyday and don’t skip meals: Getting your metabolism started first thing in the morning is important and starving yourself just leads to a desire to go on a crazy eating binge later in the day. Dieting by will power is a sure formula for failure. Will power fails me every time so I have to avoid the need for it.
- Drink plenty of water and cut back on soda including diet soda: Water helps with the weight loss process and while diet sodas don’t have any calories they do make you feel hungry. I get bored with water so I keep a pitcher of Crystal Light lemonade or tea in the fridge for when I just want a change.
- Have good snacks available: If you’re hungry between meals, eat something small and give it some time to be absorbed into your system. My favorite snack is a slice of ham and a slice of cheese rolled around a slice of pickle but I also had vegetables and fruit in the fridge.
- Weigh yourself every morning before breakfast: I found it to be motivational. If I was losing I’d be inspired to lose more, if I was flat or up slightly, I’d try and add a little extra bike riding to get back on track. I had a secret weapon in the weigh in department. I entered a “Biggest Loser” competition run by Laura Devine, a personal trainer in Charlottesville, VA. Every Monday morning I had to stand on a scale and have my weight logged by Laura which was the extra motivation I needed. I won the overall competition and personal training with Laura. I learned in personal training that my quads are dominant, big surprise huh.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day: It’s going to happen, you’re going to have a stressful day or a special occasion and end up over eating but don’t let it end your good habits altogether. Tomorrow is another day and you’ll get back on track. Don’t let your mind beat you up.
Now for the top excuses:
- The bike seat makes my butt hurt – This is the number one reason by far that I hear for not riding. Yes, your butt is going to hurt when you start riding. I’m sorry, but until your butt, gets used to being on a saddle, it’s going to hurt but it will go away with time and miles. Some people get a big gel of fluffy seat cover which creates a different issue, friction and chaffing. Finding a good seat can definitely help as well as investing in some good quality bike shorts.
- I can’t give up bread, pasta and French fries, I love them too much – You don’t have to give them up, you just have to reduce the volume. You can eat a lot of vegetables and not consume many calories or carbs. If I go out for breakfast I’ll get a nice big omelet and ask the server to hold the bread and home fires or ask for cottage cheese instead.
- I’m not a breakfast eater – Neither was I and I thought it was helping me lose weight but it wasn’t. I’m lazy when it comes to cooking so I keep Eat Beaters, a package of crumbled turkey sausage, a package of ham chucks and shredded cheese in the fridge. A little macadamia nut oil (it’s good for you and it has a buttery taste) in a frying pan and I have a omelet in minutes. For a change of pace I add mushrooms, bell pepper, and onion and f I’m feeling adventurous I cook the meat and veggies in a Thai hot sauce or add some Cajun spices.